37 pairs participated in the Prix Julius Baer event in the CSI5* competition, the day's highlight. The level A competition had a course with 13 obstacles at 1.50 m, including one double and one triple, for a total of 16 jumping efforts for registered horses.
Only 9 pairs qualified for the jump-off. Among them, only one rider from France, Matthieu Billot with Regain d'Helby, the first to start in the jump-off with a double zero-fault in 36.03 sec. Pressure was extremely high for the other participants in the jump-off. Qatar was in very good form and two of its riders made it to the podium: Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani 2nd (35.61 sec) ahead of Bassem Hassan Mohammed (35.99 sec).
José Maria Larocca from Argentina riding GDE Matrix, the last participant in the jump-off won the competition in 35.24 sec.
Note that only 6 pairs achieved a double zero-fault in the jump-off. A big disappointment for Luciana Diniz and Lennox who did not perform well in this jump-off and left the course with 15 points.
José Maria Larocca: "I am delighted to have won this Prix. GDE Matrix has always been an excellent, very loyal horse with which I am extremely satisfied. We have become very good friends."
Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani: "I never would have imagined finishing second and I am happy with my performance (...) I am very proud for the double representation of Qatar, we have prepared for a long time, in fact we qualified for the Olympic Games thanks to our victory in the Nations Cup in Abu Dhabi; Jan Tops helped us a lot. I am very lucky to compete with my team."
Bassem Hassan Mohammed "I did not do my best on this course, but my horse, who is new in my stables, was exceptional."
Looking back last year : Belgium won the Prix Julius Baer with Grégory Wathelet in first place and Jos Lansink in third place. Hans Dieter Dreher took the second place on the podium.
The Program for Saturday June 6 : The Longines Grand Prix, 1.60 m at 6:15PM with an exceptional 3000.000 euros in prize money, will be the high point of the Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show.